I love all animals!
Can you guess what my favourite of all animal is?
Its not snakes. My favourite animals are dogs! And of all dog breeds, I love Kangals the most (like the one I'm hugging in this photo!)
Unfortunately too often, I am called to catch a snake where there has been an incident with a dog. This happens so much that there are more snake vs dog incidents leading to my call outs than otherwise. Unfortunately, in a lot of these cases, the dog does not survive.
As such, I wanted to teach my fellow dog owners about how to protect them from snakes. Our favourite four legged companions have a curious nature and love to explore with their nose. Unfortunately, in the backyard, or while going for a walk, this means that dogs put their face right up close to a snake to learn what it is.
Otherwise, dogs are natural protectors and want to protect their masters from a dangerous snake. In these situations the fight between a dog and a snake goes as follows:
Dog smells snake.
Dog bites snake.
Snake bites dog.
Dog gets sick.
Dog goes to vet
(common) Dog dies.
Owner left with heart ache and expensive vet bill.
HOW TO PREVENT SNAKE BITES IN DOGS
A common question I’m often asked (unfortunately often too late) is how to protect your dog from snake bites. The following information will be of assistance.
If you see a snake, call SNAKE HUNTERS on 0403 875 409
Read and follow the instructions in my article about protecting your home from snakes at http://www.snakehunter.com.au/single-post/2016/09/29/Protect-your-Home-from-Snakes-this-Season.
Train your dog, and train him/her very well.
When going for a walk, if your dog is properly obedience trained, you will be able to recall your dog when they go too far away from you
If your dog has good recall, you can call him away from a snake.
If you don’t train your dog well, the consequences can be very costly.
When going for a walk, stay on the path and away from the edges.
If your dog smells something and finds curiosity in it, pay attention to what your dog is doing.
While you may still come across a snake on a footpath, you are more likely to be able to keep an eye on your dog if you can see what its doing.
Do NOT let your dog play with dead snakes.
Teach your dog not to go near snakes/lizards/reptiles.
If you have a blue tongue, or a pet snake, keep it secure and safe so the dog can’t get to it.
Teach your dog not to go near it.
If you don’t know how to do this, get/pay for someone to help you.
Keep your dog on a lead at all times when walking. Make this a short lead so you have full control of your dog.
NOTE: It is important to note that there is not 100% fool proof way to protect your dog from a snake bite. That said, if you take the above precautions you help to reduce the risk for your best 4 legged friend.
SIGNS YOUR DOG HAS BEEN BITTEN BY A SNAKE
What are the signs you look for when your dog has been bitten by a snake?
The below is a general guideline.
Weakness followed by collapse
Shaking or Twitching
Dilated Pupils or Difficulty Blinking
Loss of bladder or bowel control.
Blood in urine.
There may be other signs and this is not an exhaustive list. If in doubt, take your dog to a vet to get checked.
The signs of a snake bite are dependent upon the type of snake that bit your dog. Symptoms can vary significantly.
There is not always necessary all of the below symptoms. Only 1 or 2 of the symptoms may occur or more. If in doubt, take your dog to a vet.
1ST AID: WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOUR DOG HAS BEEN BITTEN
If you think your dog has been bitten by a snake please note the following:
Keep calm yourself and control your own emotions.
Keep your dog calm as possible and reduce stimulus around him.
Remove people who will make the situation worse.
Do NOT wash the wound.
Do NOT apply a tourniquet.
NEVER try to catch or kill the snake yourself.
If you can SAFELY get a photo then do so, otherwise leave it.
Apply a firm bandage (without restricting blood flow) around the affected limb (if possible) but do NOT torniquet the bite site.
CALL SNAKE HUNTERS on 0403 875 409 to catch and ID the snake for you.
Take your dog to the Vet ASAP. (The quicker you do this, the more chance of survival).
If you can describe the snake to the vet do so EXACTLY as you saw it, otherwise do NOT make up information. NOTE: Individual species can vary in colour and pattern significantly. Only qualified persons can identify snakes.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT THE VET CLINIC
Tell reception you think your dog was bitten by a snake. This will be treated as an emergency and will take priority.
The vet will conduct and examination of your dog. They are likely shave your dog in the affected area.
Diagnostic tests may be conducted by the veterinarian.
If the bite is confirmed, treatment usually consists of administration of intravenous fluids and anti venom. Some dogs require multiple vials of anti venom.
Other care may include oxygen supplementation, and artificial ventilation and more depending upon symptoms.
Recovery can take up to 48 hours or longer depending upon the effects of the bite.
RECOVERY FROM A SNAKE BITE
If you get your dog to the snake quickly, they have a much better chance of survival. If left untreated, there is a poor survival rate and death can occur.
Either way, the cost of going to a vet for a snake bite is very high. You may want to consider pet insurance.
I cannot emphasize enough the following points:
Train your dog well. They are your companions for their entire lives. The more effort you put into teaching and training them, the more obedient your dog will be when the time counts.
If bitten, get your dog to a vet immediately. Do NOT delay.
If you see a snake, call SNAKE HUNTERS on 0403 875 409.
Do NOT try to catch, handle or kill a snake ever.
Keep your pets safe this summer!
NOTE: Snake Hunters assume no liability for the information contained here in. This is a general guide only. There are no steps you can take to 100% protect your dog from a snake bite. If you see a snake, CALL SNAKE HUNTERS on 0403 875 409